June Preview: Art Auctions and a Return to Parties


June brings a host of new exhibitions and openings in area galleries and museums, as well as – thankfully, following a mostly closed 2020 – art benefits and art fairs taking place both in person as well as virtually. There are many choices available for participation, engagement and support. 

Art benefit parties and art fairs have traditionally been the social nexus of the art world. Though Zoom carried us through much of the pandemic, art collectors, industry members and enthusiasts are all eager to reconnect in person through a shared love of art and a desire to support living artists and vital businesses and institutions. Following is a list of events coming up soon. 

See you at the party! 



Raul De Lara Smile #3 is part of WIP's art auction. Starting bid: $2,400


Chicago Artist Coalition's Work in Progress 2021

JUNE 9 @ 6pm (The auction preview and bidding is live now.)

WIP 2021 will be Chicago Artists Coalition’s biggest night of the year, a virtual celebration of its 47 years as a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting contemporary Chicago artists. The event, taking place virtually on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, at 6:00 pm, highlights milestones of Chicago-based artists and curators and their influence both in and beyond the city. The event is free and open to the public and includes an art auction and recognition of the night’s honorees, artists Nick Cave and Bob Faust, and CAC supporter Jeff Shapack. CAC will also give grants to six artists.

A ticketed Work In Progress 2021 VIP event will follow the free public portion of the evening and includes a private, virtual tour of Facility, Nick Cave and Bob Faust’s multi-disciplinary creative space in Northwest Chicago. A live conversation with the artists follows the tour. Tickets for both the free and ticketed VIP WIP 2021 events are available at Eventbrite.


Part of MoCP's benefit auction: Seunggu Kim, Hanok Swimming Pool, August 2017.

MoCP's DARKROOM Benefit Auction

JUNE 10 @ 5:45 pm (The benefit auction opens one week before the event on

DARKROOM is the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago's (MoCP) annual benefit auction and gala, which will be taking place entirely online. Photography enthusiasts will also have the chance to bid on celebrated contemporary and historical artists, including work by Dawoud Bey, Tabitha Soren, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward J. Steichen, Pete Souza, Victoria Sambunaris, Sandro Miller, Brian Ulrich, and more. 

The virtual event will kick off with a pre-show DJ set with the founder and owner of famed Metro Chicago, who will be spinning 45s—in honor of the museum’s 45th anniversary year—remotely from The GMan Tavern in Wrigleyville. Attendees will then enjoy a formal program and be able to engage virtually with MoCP staff, artists, fellow supporters, and surprise special guests during an interactive livestream. The evening will conclude with a virtual cocktail party hosted on

General admission to DARKROOM is completely free. VIP tickets start at $250 and go up to $1000, with a range of exclusive benefits. Visit for more information.


Intuit's (Virtual) Visionary Ball 

JUNE 10, 7–7:45pm

Join Intuit from home in celebrating 30 years of being Intuit! Special guest speakers, Intuit's famed silent auction, and profound art-driven stories that will uplift and inspire are all part of a reimagined Visionary Ball, Intuit's annual fundraiser, this year on Zoom

Registration has passed for the special $250 cocktail or wine Party-In-Place Package, but you can register for the free ticket until June 9 and you can browse the silent auction now. Highlights include works by Lee Godie and Wesley Willis, as well as select thrift store finds by unknown artists. 

This year's Visionary Ball honors artist, art educator and researcher Lisa Stone. 

Learn more register at the Visionary Ball website.



The Old Town Art Fair is also famous for its garden walk 

The Old Town Art Fair Returns

June 12 and 13

After a cancellation in 2020 (the first in the 70-year history) the OTAF is returning to its traditional 2nd weekend in June dates this month (June 12 and 13).  Art Fair Chair Anne Giffels announced that all artists from 2020 were invited back for 2021. “We are thrilled that more than 200, out of 250, artists are returning this year. It speaks to the appeal of the OTAF for artists as well as our guests,” Giffels said. “We are committed to holding a Fair that follows strict safety protocols and welcomes everyone back to Old Town.”

Safety measures for the 2021 Art Fair include a larger footprint for adequate room to move around as well as to accommodate spaced artist booths, plus other measures that are standard practice by now. There will also be additional space for food vendors.

New this year, pre-registration will be required for entry to the Fair and is live now.


Kwame Boama Mensa-Aborampa, painting

74th annual (Virtual) 57th Street Art Fair

Ongoing through May 2022

The 57th Street Art Fair was very hopeful for an in-person fair this year but they were not approved in time to meet their planning needs. Instead, they have built a robust virtual fair that is live online through May, 2022 and features more than 100 artists selling original works of art.  You can learn more about different artists featured daily here.

​The committee and the neighborhood is looking ahead to 2022, when they hope to see everyone in-person to celebrate the fair's 75th Anniversary.



Top thumbnail: past Work in Progress party-goers